Subject: AN: Smuggling from Indonesia to East Timor gets out of hand

Smuggling from Indonesia to East Timor gets out of hand

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (Antara): The Indonesian Navy finds it difficult to control the smuggling of goods into and out of East Timor by sea, a Navy officer said on Friday.

"We are having difficulties in controlling smuggling due to the shortage of Navy boats to patrol the waters between Indonesia and East Timor," said commander of Kupang Naval Base, Lt. Col. Sandi Asmara.

"We want to have a naval base near the East Timorese enclave of Oecusse to control the rampant smuggling but unfortunately we do not have own patrol boat stationed there," he added.

The Kupang Naval Base has only two patrol boats, which are too small to cross the turbulent seas between Indonesia and East Timor.

"We can only combat all forms of smuggling if we are equipped with the right facilities including patrol boats," said Sandi.

Since the East Timorese decided to separate from Indonesia in 1999, the market there has been flooded with goods from other countries, especially Australia, but Indonesian goods are still sought after mainly because of the lower prices.

via March 05, 2004

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